Today is Monday…in so many senses of the word! First of all, our boiler, which provides us our heat, sprung a leak all over the garage last night. So my husband, being judicious, shut off all the hot water to the house. All the hot water. This morning, the plumber told us he was on his way…that was at least two hours ago. In the meantime, it rained all night long, and is still raining. It is pretty dark outside. They are laying all new electrical lines through our area and actually putting in sidewalks and streetlights (we live out of town). This morning they “accidentally” cut our power. Yay. No hot water, no heat in the house, no sunshine, and now, no electricity. On top of that, I had been trying to contact my retirement board from my former governmental employer – need I say more? Customer service is not their forte.
And so I found myself, sitting in the dark, in a sweatshirt on the couch with my newly-hairless mini-Schnauzer sitting next to me shivering, in complete silence, contemplating this turn of events. I had been espousing Holy Silence at Church just yesterday. I had joked about how loud life is these days with all the electronic interference. I think I was just tempting Our Lord to give me an opportunity to practice Silence.
Frustration does not even come close to what I am experiencing. And I remembered the graphic above, quoting Abba Isaias. Boy, did I need that! In his book, “Our Thoughts Determine Our Lives,” Elder Thaddeus tells us that we can control our environment by how we react to it and by what we give back to it. I was dealing with a crabby woman on the phone this morning, who needs so many lessons in customer service, and I caught myself snipping at her (“What do you mean, 4th from the bottom? The bottom is the bottom, there is nothing listed below the bottom of the list. That’s why it is the bottom!” To which she replied, “Well, fine then; it’s the 4th UP from the bottom.”) and I stopped myself from going further and literally prayed for her in my mind. I have worked in customer service in retail, for various governmental agencies; I have waited tables and tended bar! I get the whole customer service thing and I realized, “It’s Monday!” And I will be held accountable for the thoughts I have, and the way my thoughts project into my environment – my thoughts came spilling out of my mouth before I had the chance to edit them. I apologized to her, telling her I did not understand the jargon common to retirement boards, and asked if she could please assist me; her demeanor immediately changed and I castrated myself for having let my frustration get the better of me.
Life has a way of bringing us up short some days. We are hit right between the eyes with whatever weakness we seem to be trying to work on. I had a priest tell me one time, “Never pray for patience, because that’s when all hell will break loose.” He explained that God just doesn’t give us what we lack; He teaches us how to have what we lack. If we lack patience, He will use every opportunity available to teach us how to be patient. With my frustration reaching its peak early today, God has been thrusting me into situations where I am learning to temper my frustration with kindness and to try to learn to relax in these situations. Mark Hart the Bible Geek (check out his Facebook page) tells us, “God’s got this” and I totally believe that. God does have this, and all the days of my life. I need to learn to get into sync with whatever He has for me. I need to slow down and be quiet; I need to learn to listen. Is my life going where I want it to? No. Am I better off than yesterday? It depends on what we are qualifying. I am better off because I have a great place to live (other than it’s dark and a little chilly in here today!!), I am close to my family, and my Church community is continually surprising me and blessing me with new friends and a wonderful place to worship. Financially? Absolutely not. We are pretty much at that desperation point, but I know God’s got this, too. His timeline does not always coincide with what I think I need or what I think needs to happen, but that is what faith is all about. Allowing God to work. Giving Him time and space to evident Himself in all aspects of my life. I keep thinking that the Lord has way more faith in me and my perseverance than I do, and quite often I look to heaven and make the “time out” sign the refs in football use! But still, I awoke today. I had a visit from my grandson and daughter-in-law, who brought us some hot coffee. My power was restored, by men working in the pouring rain, so I could sit here and type. God is good and He is working. “All good things come to he who waits,” as the old saying goes.
As the Didache explains to us, the troubles that come to us are from the Lord. He is teaching us what He believes we need to know. And so I hope in the Lord. I offer my frustrations to Him; I offer Him also my Silent moments, asking that He enter in. I thank Him for my next breath, and I praise Him for being in my life and loving me, even when I trip and fall so far short. God is good.